In 1967, after a visit to an Indiana Children’s Home, Lois Idleman of St. Joseph, IL felt a call to bring a children’s home the Central Illinois region. It was out of this call that a movement of men from Champaign, Vermilion, and Douglas counties joined together to create the Illini Children’s Christian Home (ICCH). With the assistance of the Christian Men’s Association, ICCH’s first home was completed on June 7 th , 1967 in St. Joseph, Illinois. By 1975, a total of six group homes for children had been established—three homes in St. Joseph, one in Erie, one in Macomb, and the final in Dix, IL.
Growing & Serving
In 1974, ICCH expanded its ministry services to include adoption and foster care services. As great changes were made to the social service system in Illinois, a new vision for ICCH was established. ICCH believed more families could be served by a Christian Foster Care Program than by their group home model. By 1999, the children were no longer being served by the six group homes, but rather, they were in the care of 25 different foster families.
Today & Beyond
To reflect this new vision, ICCH changed its name to what is now Illini Christian Ministries, Inc. (ICM). ICM has continued to enhance our adoption program and also responded the need for affordable mental health services by adding a counseling arm to the ministry. In 2011 ICM restructured our approach to Family Care ministry by becoming a regional implementer of the Safe Families for Children program. We no longer license foster homes, but have created a network of Safe Families who provide short term temporary guardianship to support families in crisis. God is blessing this ministry daily through donations from churches, individuals, special gifts, and grants. No state funding is accepted for our robust programs including Family Care, Adoption (International and Domestic), and Counseling Services.